There I was, age 7, gathering all the waste paper baskets around the house where I grew up in Gloversville, New York; tipping them upside-down to make my very first kick-ass drum set. I grabbed a couple of sticks from the ground in the back yard and “voila” – my first set of homemade drums. I always loved jamming to records of Big Bands featuring Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa. Later I would play along with my older brothers’ pop rock records. Blessed with parents who recognized my interest, I enjoyed the opportunity of lessons to begin a journey of learning some skill for this somewhat noisy expression. My neighbors loved it (not). I’m so grateful my Dad brought me to see the Buddy Rich band “live” at the Glove Theater. Wow! Masterful! I was blown away, or rather blown into an inspired realm of rhythm.
I began marching in local drum lines and playing in rock bands at age 15 where I would need a signed note from Mom to be able to play in local pubs. Later I attended Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, New York where I studied classical percussion: Timpani, Marimba, Snare, Jazz drum set, etc. While I have fond memories of honing my skills as a percussionist, I also began playing piano, composing 4-track layered pieces, expressing simple melodies and harmonies as I developed my musical voice. Here I discovered the realm of blending rhythm/percussion with other instruments – and how to lay down the groove – which supports the main theme/melody/harmony. I began to understand which specific elements of the drum kit to use and when to call upon them for the desired result – support and uplift musical expression.
I enjoyed playing in bands throughout these years and found myself touring with a top 40 club band for over 5 years, up and down the east coast of the U.S. We would play 5-7 nights a week. This is where I experienced a ‘tipping point’ as a drummer, and gained the kind of stamina and depth, which allows one to get out of the thinking way and let the music flow as way of ‘being’; that perhaps only time seems to produce. Living on the road – playing drums every night – God, that was a lot of fun!
After earning a bachelor’s degree in Florida (a temporary misguided effort to perhaps get a “real” job, ha!), I moved to the Great Northwest and have truly enjoyed so many musical experiences with great musicians; (drum circles, jazz, blues, funk, rock, folk, country, pop, covers and originals, etc.); both live performance and recording for several CD’s, soundtracks, video projects, etc. For the past 5 years, I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity of playing in several top clubs and casinos throughout the Northwest, jamming my heart away with so many excellent musicians.
It’s interesting to look back as an exercise to create this auto-bio for our website – but I must say – I strive to live in the “here and now”. All I really mean to say is – I have found a new home, here, now – as the drummer for Waking Bear. I am so thrilled, so grateful – for life itself – to be included in such a beautiful talented group of like minded awesome human beings – expressing our music from the heart, with the intention of Love, Gratitude, Joy, Healing, Connection, ya know, the good stuff of life. Each drumstroke, every moment, every breath – to focus, support, uplift, and uphold this intention. Feels so good!!!